Prison governors have joined the ever-growing list of professional associations and celebrities calling for a rethink of the war on drugs, in a further sign of a sea-change in attitudes.
The Prison Governors Association (PGA) has backed the Time to Count the Costs initiative – a campaign calling for international drug law reforms backed by figures like Richard Branson.
"The blanket prohibition on Class A drugs allows criminals to control both the supply and quality of these drugs to addicts who turn to crime to fund their addiction," Eoin McLennan-Murray of the PGA said.
"The Prison Governors' Association believe that a substantial segment of the prison population have been convicted of low level acquisitive crimes simply to fund that addiction.
"The current war on drugs is successful in creating further victims of acquisitive crime; increasing cost to the taxpayer to accommodate a higher prison population and allowing criminals to control and profit from the sale and distribution of Class A drugs."
Count the Cost is backed by Human Rights Watch, the Howard League for Penal Reform and the former president of Brazil.
A recent appeal by rap music mogul Russell Simmons saw a range of celebrities join the campaign, including Susan Sarandon, Justin Bieber, Harry Belafonte, Cameron Diaz, Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Ron Howard and Mark Wahlberg.